Health & Well-being

Key memories - 1950s kitchen is key to unlocking the past!

Over the last year, five museums across Cambridge have been working with staff and residents of care homes, and young families.  The project culminated in a touring exhibition, designed on a 1950s kitchen cabinet to showcase this valuable community work.

Julie Heathcote Alzheimer’s Society approved reminiscence trainer said, “Reminiscence work is so valuable; prompting a person's memories can impact positively upon their well-being and their sense of themselves.  This is so for all older people and particularly people with dementia who may have short term memory loss, but can remember things from the past.”

The project has been incredibly successful and forged new links and partnerships.  In October 2009 two training sessions were held at Denny Abbey Farmland Museum, funded by the Cambridge & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, one for Care Home Activity Co-ordinators and a further session for care workers and museum staff and volunteers to look at what dementia is and how reminiscence can help residents.

The project has also enabled the collection of oral histories, some of which are available to the public on the Cambridgeshire Community Archive Network. 

The five Cambridgeshire museums involved are: The Cambridge and County Folk Museum, Ely Museum, Farmland Museum, St Neots Museum and Wisbech and Fenland Museum. They worked with: the St Martins Centre Cambridge, Vera James House Ely, The Hillings Eaton Socon, Home Close Car Home Fulbourn, the Rosmini Centre, Wisbech, Nippers Mother and Toddlers Cambridge, the Edward Bear Club Ely,  Fulbourn Primary School and Ickle Rascals St Neots.

The Cambridgeshire Museums Advisory Partnership (CMAP), an Association which supports museums in the county and aims to encourage them to work in collaboration, has now secured funding to set up the Cambridgeshire Reminiscence Network. This network will be a collective of museums and providers who deliver reminiscence to care centred organisations and will provide resources to train more people in this important area of work.

For further information contact Beverley Hoff, Museums Partnership Officer on (01223) 715474 or by e-mail at: